Philly’s Feeling the Sequester Pinch: Liberty Bell Reducing Hours

At a protest that took place today on Independence Mall, City Paper caught up with three federal workers already feeling the automatic spending cuts that went into effect earlier this month, AKA the sequester. And no more iconic embled of Philadelphia than the Liberty Bell will be affected.

Adam Duncan, who works with the National Park Service and is vice president of AFGE Local 2038, says forget about extended July 4 hours for the Liberty Bell. That will be closing at 5 p.m. daily thanks to the sequester, and eight other buildings could see hours cut back to a few days a week or even face closure.

Workers from HUD and the Social Security Administration also spoke of furloughs and budget cuts that cripple their departments’ efficiency. Which is a good counter-argument against the anti-government shibboleth that public agencies must have their budgets cut, because they’re already useless bureaucratic Leviathans. Now that the government has done that, says the SSA’s Joe Ponisciak, and “We don’t have the people to check the disability rolls. We’re supposed to do that every three years and we don’t have the staff to do that now.” [City Paper]